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Why are city crews flushing fire hydrants amid Calgary's water restrictions?

A City of Calgary employee flushes a water line in this undated image. (Source: City of Calgary) A City of Calgary employee flushes a water line in this undated image. (Source: City of Calgary)
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While water restrictions remain in effect throughout Calgary, the city said it still has to follow some necessary practices that might appear wasteful – such as flushing water lines via hydrants.

“While the city has prioritized reducing our water usage, we must continue practices that are required by law and necessary to meet regulatory standards for water quality,” the City of Calgary said on its website.

Flushing the water lines helps ensure high-quality drinking water and protects the water distribution system, according to the city. It also needs to occur after a water main is repaired to flush any sediment and contaminants that may have entered the pipes.

The city is currently under stage four outdoor water restrictions, which ban all outdoor water use. Voluntary indoor restrictions are also in place, encouraging residents to reduce their water usage at home.

With reducing water usage top of mind, the city said it has implemented monitoring practices and improved flushing methods to reduce the amount of water used by 75 per cent.

The city noted, however, that it does not currently have a mechanism to capture and reuse the water.

Fire department conducting training

The Calgary Fire Department (CFD) will also be conducting live fire training exercises, which could raise eyebrows for Calgarians.

In a social media post on Wednesday, CFD said the exercises will take place at the Fire Training Academy over the next few weeks.

”The water used to put out the fires comes from CFD’s own closed water system which captures and recycles all water used for training, and in no way impacts the city’s potable water supply,” CFD said in the post.

This water system has been in place since 2011.

The exercises have a burn permit and are exempt under the current fire ban.

The fire training academy is located near Elliston Park in the city’s southeast.

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